Do you love the soft blue waves of clouds that seem to go on forever in this “land of the blue mist,” as the Cherokees called our Blue Ridge Mountains? Have you ever hiked into a secluded glen and been awed by the sight of sunlight filtering through the trees in our forests? Ever enjoyed a picnic by a cool, clear stream, or waded at the base of a waterfall tumbling down a mountain that is one of the oldest in the world?
Do you cherish the music that speaks to the heart and soul of the people of these old mountains and foothills? Did you know that the music and dance traditions born and bred in our region has inspired and influenced many other genres of American music?
Have you ever been enchanted by the charming and profound Cherokee stories, more than 10,000 years old? Ever admired the intricate and exquisitely designed baskets woven by Cherokee hands in patterns as ancient as the Cherokee culture? Seen an ancient tribal dance?
Did you know that the traditional crafts that have been handed down through generations of both immigrant settlers and Cherokee have blended into a craft culture here that is the third largest in our nation?
Do you realize that there are over 12,000 working farms in our region that carry on agricultural traditions that have evolved from the blending of European, African and Native American farming techniques?
This is a special place, like no other on Earth.
The work of the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area Partnership, a public charity, is vital in keeping the natural and cultural heritage of the mountains and foothills of North Carolina alive and well. Just as the National Park Service serves as steward of the special places set aside as our national parks, National Heritage Areas serve to steward the many special places outside of the park system.
National Heritage Areas work with communities, schools, preservation organizations, tourism groups, and many more to build grassroots initiatives that preserve, protect, and promote the distinctive landscapes and cultural heritage in our country. In so doing, this work strengthens the economies of these regions.
The 25 western counties in North Carolina were designated a National Heritage Area by Congress in 2003. This honor was bestowed because of the rich natural and cultural heritage of Western North Carolina that shaped the history not only of the state, but also of the nation. We have some of the oldest mountains in the world, one of the oldest American cultures–the Cherokee, deeply rooted music and craft traditions, and an agricultural heritage that is a blend of Native American and European immigrant practices.
Combined, these five themes comprise a valuable national treasure. It’s up to all of us to protect, nurture, and pass it on to future generations.
Won’t you help?
Even though the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area Partnership receives some federal support through the National Park Service, every federal dollar received must be matched one to one with private, state, or local dollars.
- Much of our federal funding is given back to communities in the region in the form of grants that support our mission of stewardship.
- Another signature project is the Blue Ridge Music Trails of North Carolina, which is enhancing the economy of the region by promoting one of our cherished heritage treasures, our traditional mountain music.
- The Blue Ridge Heritage Trails project will see 69 interpretive signs installed throughout the region, as well as five informational kiosks in nearby NC Welcome Centers to encourage tourists to visit heritage sites throughout the 25 counties.
The Blue Ridge National Heritage Area Partnership, the operating entity for the designation, is a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit public charity. You can help us continue our work and strengthen the heritage, culture and economy of this region by making a tax deductible charitable contribution. Your legacy gift can be made quickly, easily, and safely by clicking on the Donate button above or by mailing a check to:
Blue Ridge National Heritage Area
195 Hemphill Knob Road
Asheville NC 28803
For more information contact:
Financial information about the BRNHA and a copy of its license are available from the State Solicitation Licensing Branch at 919-814-5400. The license is not an endorsement by the State.